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Bitter sweet end for Castrol Team Perkins

19/4/2005 14:08 (Press Release) - Castrol Team Perkins Racing have had a bitter sweet end to the V8 International in New Zealand today, with Steven Richards finishing third in race three while Paul Dumbrell was merely a passenger in a high speed incident that demolished the car 24 entry.

Race Two Report:

After a disappointing end to race one Richards and Dumbrell started race two from 28th and 26th respectively. The green light saw the two Castrol Commodores charge through the field, moving up several positions in the opening lap of the race.

Both TPR cars were lucky to miss an altercation mid-field, running wide to avoid the carnage. Richards moved from 28th to 20th on the opening lap, with Dumbrell following his lead moving into 22nd.

By lap four, Richards had moved up ten positions into 18th and continued to charge forward. Dumbrell was also carving up the field, jumping five into 21st.

Only ten laps into the race, Richards gained 12th position and continued to apply the pressure to Tander and Lowndes for a top ten position, while Dumbrell fought from behind in 14th.

As the leaders began to make their compulsory tyre stops, Richards moved into fourth with Dumbrell in seventh continuing to gain track time and close the gap to the leaders.

On lap 18 the safety car was bought out due to the BJR entry of Brad Jones flipping his Supercar onto its roof. The incident presented the opportunity for both Castrol Commodores to make their stops and rejoin under yellow conditions.

Racing resumed on lap 25 and the field shuffled into position. By this stage all of the field had made their compulsory stops and were back in race position. Richards moved up into the top ten to ninth, with Dumbrell continuing to charge forward in 14th.
On lap 34 fifth place holder Jason Bright spun, causing the field to dart around him over the grass. As Bright rejoined the racing Dumbrell narrowly missed T-boning the Ford, resulting in the TPR Commodore also taking a spin. Dumbrell managed to pull it together without damage and rejoined a couple of positions down in 18th.

The closing laps of race two saw Dumbrell make an impressive recovery into 17th, however Richards took home the hard-charger award for the team making up 20 positions to finish 8th.

Race Three Report:

It was a nail-biter of a start to race three as the field shuffled through turns one and two fighting for position. The TPR Commodores had a clean start, with Richards lucky to escape damage when Ambrose rejoined the field at high speed after running wide onto the grass.

Richards attempted to overtake Ambrose but ended up losing a position to Bowe in the meantime pushing him back to seventh. Dumbrell moved up into 12th from 16th on the opening lap.

The safety car was expected to come out on lap 10 after Besnard got out of shape and parked the WPS entry in the kitty-litter, causing the majority of the field to flood the pit lane in a frantic attempt to complete their compulsory stops.

Both TPR cars of Richards and Dumbrell made their stops and rejoined the race still under green conditions.

The safety car was deployed on lap 14 for Besnard's beached car, just as Bargwanna hit the wall littering the track with debris. With a lengthy delay to clear the track, the safety car was withdrawn on lap 23.

Richards and Dumbrell resumed racing from seventh and 16th respectively, just as the clouds began to deliver a heavy shower on Pukekohe.

The rain didn't slow the racing however, as Richards dove up the inside of Bowe to take sixth and started challenging Radisich for a top five position.

Richards got the brake and overtook Radisich, and didn't take long to pull a safety margin between the Castrol Commodore and the V8 freight train forming behind.

The rain began falling heavier on lap 32, causing less grip around the greasy track resulting in the entire field having to fight for position on slick tyres.

As cars ran wide onto the grass around the rear of the circuit, Dumbrell was caught up in a major shunt with Craig Baird causing severe damage to the 24 Castrol Commodore.

The incident saw race control red flag the session as officials rushed to clear the debris of the two cars spread across the track. Both Baird and Dumbrell were lucky to escape unharmed from their demolished wrecks.

The remainder of the field was directed to wait on the grid for a race re-start as crews rushed to get wet weather tyres on all cars. The field was given two warm up laps behind the safety car before racing commenced for a 16 lap sprint to the finish.

Richards moved up to fourth as Lowndes' Ford failed to make the re-start. Richards made it past Skaife for third, closely followed by Ambrose who began to apply the pressure for the podium position. Richards maintained third as the checkered flag bought the action packed race to a close.

Steven Richards

"We started on brand new wets, but once the tyres came up to temperature we were able to push on and secure a podium finish."

"The car was strong and it's a great result. At the end of the day we've grabbed some points and have a straight car to go to Perth with."

"Full credit to the team for delivering a fast and reliable car that ultimately proved good enough to take us from 28th on the grid to a podium finish."

Paul Dumbrell

"The car continued to perform well and had incredible speed all weekend. It didn't just have great qualifying speed; it proved to be on the pace throughout the three races which allowed us to make up position."

"The incident in race three was obviously a disappointing end to the weekend for the entire team. The Castrol crew has worked hard all weekend and will no doubt do the same to ensure the car is ready to race in Perth."

Release Date: 17/04/2005

Castrol Team Perkins Racing